We Need THIS, Not Affirmative Action

by John Spritzler

 

September 13, 2005 (updated September, 2018)

See the February 8, 2022 Postscript below*** about how the New Affirmative Action is being launched in medical care

[Also please see "Here's What CRT (Critical Race Theory) Censors: the Anti-Working Class PURPOSE of the Racial Discrimination it Describes"]

[Also please see "REPARATIONS FOR SLAVERY AND JIM CROW AND GENOCIDE AGAINST NATIVE AMERICANS"]

 

 

There are two ways, short of an egalitarian revolution, to redress the decades of racial discrimination in hiring and school admissions.

 

The first way produces great resentment of whites against blacks and Hispanics and undermines solidarity.

 

The second way produces great solidarity between whites and blacks and Hispanics.

 

Our ruling elite made their choice shortly after the Civil Rights Movement had garnered tremendous support from white working class people on the basis of opposing racial discrimination; the Movement gained so much widespread support for this goal that it was able to abolish Jim Crow's racial discrimination in law.

 

Which way do you suppose was chosen by our ruling plutocracy, in particular by its chief agent at the time, President Richard Nixon (Hint: Recall that Nixon's chief economic advisor and Watergate convict, John Ehrlichman, admitted that Nixon was hostile to blacks, as reported in a Huffington Post article titled, "Nixon Aide Reportedly Admitted Drug War Was Meant To Target Black People: 'Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.' ") If you guessed the first way you would be right.

The ruling class chose what came to be known as Affirmative Action. As the blurb for the book, Richard Nixon and the Rise of Affirmative Action, says:

"Richard Nixon is hardly remembered for his civil rights policies but there is no denying that, more than any other president, he is responsible for affirmative action. Noting Nixon's hostility towards busing, his political allegiances with segregationists, and the hostility of leading civil rights figures at the time, historians and political scientists have avoided explaining why the origins of modern affirmative action lie in the Nixon era."

As this blurb notes, Nixon was no anti-racist. That's actually why he liked Affirmative Action. Here's why.

Affirmative Action sets lower (i.e., easier) criteria for minorities than for whites to be hired or accepted into a college or university. In Boston, where I live, there are online examples of this in the hiring by the Boston Fire Department of firefighters  here and here and here; the exam score required to be hired was lower for non-whites than for whites. The City of Boston was not unique! Harvard University used different qualifying SAT scores for different races. A Washington Post article reports: "The Dallas firefighters' case stems from a five-year affirmative action plan that the city adopted in 1988. It permitted certain black, Latino and female members of the fire department to be promoted over others even if they earned lower scores on written promotion tests." Sometimes racial quotas and set-asides were used instead of different minimum required passing scores on a qualifying exam for different races, but the result was the same: some whites with high scores were not hired/admitted while non-whites with lower scores were.  

 

The fact that Affirmative Action was often implemented as explicit or implicit reverse racial discrimination was made well-known to working class people (by the conservative wing of the ruling class with media it controlled that aimed at a white working class audience) but it was disguised in the media and literature aimed at middle class and professional people, which described Affirmative Action as something unobjectionable to anybody opposed to any kind of racial discrimination, i.e., as just being about making an effort to recruit qualified but formerly ignored minorities with things like recruiters going to minority venues. 

 

Instead of being against racial discrimination, Affirmative Action is in fact for it. What has been the result? Terrible! (Postscript: the ruling class in 2022 is again promoting reverse racial discrimination with renewed vigor, as "anti-racism." ***)

 

For decades whites heard employers or schools tell them essentially, "We're sorry. We couldn't give you the position you applied for because we had to give it to a less qualified minority person." Could a better method of creating racial resentment ever have been invented?*

As The New Yorker's Louis Menand wrote:

"It is true that probably the main reason Nixon promoted affirmative-action programs was to pit African-Americans against labor, both traditionally Democratic voting bases. And, by many accounts, he succeeded, and created Archie Bunker—the Reagan Democrat, a man who resents special government help for minorities." 

Adding insult to injury, Affirmative Action harmed minorities by stigmatizing those of them who did obtain a sought-after job or school admission as "not actually qualified" even when they were indeed qualified.

 

(Furthermore, Affirmative Action has not come close to delivering the goods or even moving things substantially closer to the goal of racial equality. What we have now is the "New Jim Crow" of racist prison incarceration.)

The second method****, the one the plutocracy avoided like the plague, is this:

 

Make the criterion for being hired to a job or admitted to a school be the same regardless of race: that the applicant has what is really required to do the job or benefit from the school. Stop requiring applicants to get some arbitrary score on a test (like the SAT) that correlates far more with race and economic status than with actual ability to succeed as an employee or student. In addition, bring back on-the-job training (something only older people remember) so that the criterion for getting hired is what really matters--simply the ability to learn the relevant new skills. This alone would dramatically increase the numbers of minorities hired for jobs or admitted to schools.

In addition, however, the second method would include guaranteeing anybody, regardless of race, this: If you're willing to work reasonably doing something socially useful (that's different from making a profit for a capitalist!) then you'll have the opportunity to do so and to receive in return the same standard of living as anybody else.** And furthermore the second method would include this: Create schools sufficient in number and appropriate in type of instruction to enable any person who wants to further their education to do so. And don't dare claim "There's not enough money for this" until AFTER things like this stop being built, and things like this (based on a WMD lie!) are stopped!

The second method of redressing past racial discrimination would result in ZERO unemployment among minorities as well as whites and would enable EVERY minority person and every white person who wanted to further their education to do so. If THIS were the solution to making up for past racial discrimination in hiring and school admissions (even just the first part of the method alone) then white working people would be in agreement with it. They'd LOVE it. But no, the plutocracy didn't choose the second solution because it would not have furthered divide-and-rule. Still, the second solution is the kind of solution that we should fight for as a way of ending racial discrimination and making a better world for all of us. It's an egalitarian solution. We should also fight for reparations the GOOD way (as I discuss here), but of course the ruling class will only permit a deliberately divisive kind of "reparations" to be discussed in the mass media.

Note also that the plutocracy did not do the most minimal thing to end racial discrimination in hiring and school admissions, which would have been to a) make it a crime with a big punishment to commit such racial discrimination, b) use the FBI to aggressively investigate such racial discrimination (with measures that could include things such as sending fake resumes to employers or school applications to schools that were virtually identical except for the race of the applicant, and seeing if there was a pattern of racial discrimination in deciding who to invite for a face-to-face interview or whom to offer an admission) and c) aggressively prosecute those suspected of racial discrimination in hiring or school admission decisions. Why didn't the plutocracy do at least this? Because ending racial discrimination was never the plutocracy's goal; creating resentment and mistrust between the races was.

Here's How, and Why, the Ruling Class Persuades Good People to Support Reverse Racial Discrimination

To force the ruling class to make jobs and education available to all who deserve them requires solidarity among the have-nots to successfully challenge the power of the ruling class. Affirmative Action is one way the ruling class prevents this solidarity; it is how the ruling class protects the extreme class inequality that enables a handful of billionaires to own so much wealth and have so much power. Here's what the ruling class does to enlist the support of good people for its attack on solidarity.

 

The ruling class a) creates artificial scarcity in things like jobs and education and health care and pits the have-nots against each other by race in a competition for them****, and b) tells good people who are opposed to racial discrimination that the only available choice is to deprive one race of have-nots or the other race of have-nots of what they deserve and since non-whites were deprived in the past therefore we must switch to depriving whites now in order to be "against racism."

 

Additionally, by keeping middle class and professional people unaware of the fact that Affirmative Action is not just about making efforts to recruit qualified but formerly ignored minorities (as discussed above) but is actually reverse racial discrimination (e.g., lower scores for minority than for whites required to be hired), the ruling class is able to persuade middle class and professional people that working class whites who object to Affirmative Action could only do so because of racism.  

 

Why Were Affirmative Action AND the Racist War on Drugs Both Initiated by the Same Person--Richard Nixon?

 

President Richard Nixon not only initiated Affirmative Action but also the racist War on Drugs (the racist character of which is explained here.) The War on Drugs led to a sharp increase in the prison incarceration of blacks, but not of whites, as you can see in the graph displayed here. The incarceration of blacks in numbers disproportionate to their percentage of the general population made it much easier for the ruling class to persuade whites that blacks were simply a criminal race. Prime time T.V. made sure of this.

What explains Nixon being the initiator of both Affirmative Action and the racist War on Drugs? If Nixon were truly a friend of blacks and Hispanics and Native Americans and wanted them to be freed from the racial discrimination against them and if this were his motive in initiating Affirmative Action, then why would he also have initiated the extremely racist War on Drugs? It makes no sense.

But what DOES make sense is that Nixon's motive for initiating both Affirmative Action and the War on Drugs was the same: to keep the rich in power by keeping ordinary Americans divided along race lines.

-------------------

 

* Here is some evidence that, before Affirmative Action was implemented, it was well-known that its effect would be to destroy the solidarity between white and black working class people that had developed in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s that had opposed racial discrimination. As recounted here, Bayard Rustin (who, "in the 1950s became one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s key advisers...[and who] played a major role in devising the tactics that were responsible for the civil rights movement’s early victories in the Deep South...[and who in] 1963 ... was named as the chief organizer of the March on Washington ") in the 1970s "was thus uncomfortable with racial preferences that he believed would alienate the white working class."

After Affirmative Action was implemented it had exactly the racially divisive effect that smart people anticipated it would have, as the Washington Post in a 1995 article reported:

Three out of four Americans surveyed said they opposed affirmative action programs that give preference to minorities to make up for past discrimination, and a virtually identical proportion felt the same way about programs for women, according to the survey. And more than two out of three said those programs should be changed – or eliminated.The survey found that affirmative action, like most racial issues, sharply divides whites and blacks. And within communities of color, a debate about affirmative action also rages: Nearly half of all African Americans interviewed said they opposed affirmative action programs giving preference to minorities....

But many opponents of affirmative action angrily dismiss suggestions that preferences are needed to make up for past discriminatory practices.

"There is absolutely no reason to try to get even with what happened to past generations," said Jack Landwehr, 39, a production supervisor in an industrial paint factory in Racine, Wis. "People make of life what they put into it."

"The blacks think we owe them something for going getting them {from Africa}," said Philip Lang, 45, who owns a small grocery store in Cheraw, S.C. "I didn't go get anybody. That was 200 years ago. Why should I suffer so they can have a better chance in jobs or anything for that matter....

Many minorities expressed concern that white preoccupation with affirmative action blinds whites to qualifications of minorities and women, who become lumped together as "preference hires" even when they had won jobs or promotions by hard work or merit. Some also agreed with critics who said affirmative action sometimes produced reverse discrimination.

"Affirmative action to me was supposed to be used to equal things out. Now it's used as an excuse," said Bryant J. Williams, 20, an Army specialist living in Herlong, Calif. "The whole minority-majority affirmative action thing really bothers me. . . . I am equal if not superior to, so just to consider me in a category of minority is not right."

Ernie Sandoval, 20, a Hispanic college student in Paradise, Calif., said he fears that backlash to affirmative action is hurting relations between the races. "I consider affirmative action to be reverse discrimination, and I think affirmative action is counterproductive," he said. "I think it helped the African American community throughout the '70s for a while and women. But at this point it is dividing the races."

The poll found Americans deeply divided over whether affirmative action hurts white males. Half of those interviewed – 51 percent -- said white men had been adversely affected by preference programs, while 46 percent disagreed.

These views varied sharply by race. Fifty-seven percent of all whites interviewed and 63 percent of all white males thought affirmative action had hurt white men, a view shared by just 19 percent of all blacks.

** Martin Luther King, Jr., always advocated "race-neutral" improvements that would benefit all working class people; he never advocated racial preferences that came to be known, after his death, as "Affirmative Action." In King's address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967 he thus said:

"The problem indicates that our emphasis must be twofold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available."

In 1965 the writer Alex Haley interviewed King for an interview that ran in Playboy Magazine. Haley asks him about an employment program to help "20,000,000 Negroes." After expressing his approval for it, King estimates that such a program would cost $50 billion.

Haley then asks: "Do you feel it's fair to request a multibillion-dollar program of preferential treatment for the Negro, or for any other minority group?"

King: "I do indeed. Can any fair-minded citizen deny that the Negro has been deprived? Few people reflect that for two centuries the Negro was enslaved, and robbed of any wages--potential accrued wealth which would have been the legacy of his descendants. All of America's wealth today could not adequately compensate its Negroes for his centuries of exploitation and humiliation. It is an economic fact that a program such as I propose would certainly cost far less than any computation of two centuries of unpaid wages plus accumulated interest. In any case, I do not intend that this program of economic aid should apply only to the Negro; it should benefit the disadvantaged of all races."

Haley asks him about possible resentment from white people, and he says that the poor white man ought to be "made to realize that he is in the very same boat with the Negro....Together, they could form a grand alliance."

[source: https://www.nola.com/opinions/article_80a6890a-e474-558d-9124-2bc2f741336c.html , which has a misleading headline.]

Note that it is Haley, not King, who uses the word "preferential." King's point was quite obviously not at all about making required exam scores for blacks lower than for whites to get a job. King's point was that lots more jobs should be created, which of course would preferentially benefit blacks only in the sense that blacks were disproportionately unemployed compared to whites, but that, as King emphasized, "I do not intend that this program of economic aid should apply only to the Negro; it should benefit the disadvantaged of all races."

*** Postscript: on February 8, 2022 I posted the following on  Facebook:

 

 HERE'S SOME WONDERFUL NEWS IF YOU'RE A RACIST LEADER OF A WHITE NATIONALIST ORGANIZATION

 

Having trouble recruiting new members to your white nationalist organization lately? Well, here's some wonderful news! The good news is contained in this excerpt from "An Antiracist Agenda for Medicine" at https://bostonreview.net/articles/michelle-morsebram-wispelwey-what-we-owe-patients-case-medical-reparations/?fbclid=IwAR1ZEezeo6ih2EClR0KV7eishHDD_c-ZJl9RAU5LA49VaCBaECJ8aDrWFhs :

 

------------------

[start of excerpt]

 

"Offering preferential care based on race or ethnicity may elicit legal challenges from our system of colorblind law. But given the ample current evidence that our health, judicial, and other systems already unfairly preference people who are white, we believe—following the ethical framework of Zack and others—that our approach is corrective and therefore mandated."

[end of excerpt]

-----------------

 

You see, the liberal establishment has decided to help you out, just like Preident Nixon did back in the day. Remember when Nixon initiated Affirmative Action, with its explicitly preferential hiring and admissions for non-whites? Remember how happy you were to see how it created white resentment of minorities, as your potential white working class recruits began receiving letters that said essentially, "We're sorry we couldn't give you the position you applied for; we had to give it to a less qualified minority person"?

 

Remember how happy you were to see the end of all that support for Martin Luther King, Jr. among whites, support that was based on his demand to abolish racial discrimination? Maybe you thought Nixon with his Affirmative Action was some kind of anti-racist back then? Oh no, silly you. Did you forget that Nixon at the same time started the racist War on Drugs to kick start the New Jim Crow of racially biased prison incarceration? [Go here to read about all this: https://www.pdrboston.org/affirmative-action-a-trap ].

 

Well, happy days are here again! The liberals in medicine, no doubt without realizing it, are implementing a New Affirmative Action plan for medicine that will increase your recruiting for sure. See, it's already happening: https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2022/02/02/neo-nazis-target-anti-racist-doctors-at-brigham-and-womens-hospital-calling-them-anti-white?fbclid=IwAR1uXAoW4dFlAENj-qppoFjGkKLgU4BMAZLU5HK93ojtrAPZPC6VQB0o_8Y.

These liberal "anti-racism" doctors have decided that since efforts to make medicine color blind did not REALLY make it color blind, that therefore it's necessary to institute explicit racial bias in favor of non-whites. Lucky for you these not-very-smart doctors didn't realize that the smart and actual anti-racist response to the fact that efforts in the past to make medicine color blind didn't work is to figure out how to make better efforts in the future that will work.

 

Maybe these liberal doctors would have figured out the smart thing to do were it not for the fact that the ruling class (that secretly supports your white nationalist recruiting because it furthers its divide-and-rule strategy) is making a full court press for reverse racial discrimination.

 

Vice President Kamala Harris is a proponent of "Affirmative Action." "Harris opposed California's ban on affirmative action. She asked the Supreme Court to 'reaffirm its decision that public colleges and universities may consider race as one factor in admissions decisions.' Harris filed legal papers in the Supreme Court case supporting race as an admissions factor at the University of Texas. She also filed papers supporting affirmative action in a different Supreme Court case involving the University of Michigan." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Kamala_Harris#Affirmative_action ) ​

 

Vice President Kamala Harris's pro-"Affirmative Action" position is spelled out very clearly by Ibram X. Kendi, who writes: ​ "The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination." [from Kendi's book, How to be an Antiracist, pg 19.] ​

 

Kendi is one of the leading intellectuals on race and he has of late been warmly embraced by the liberal wing of the ruling class. "In September 2017, Kendi founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, serving as its executive director. In June 2020, it was announced that Kendi would join Boston University as a professor of history. Upon accepting the position, Kendi agreed to move the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University to Boston University, where he will serve as the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research."

 

The ultra liberal Boston Globe newspaper (owned by the billionaire John Henry) conducted a special zoom event featuring the paper's editorial editor praisingly interviewing Kendi. If one does a Google search for "Kendi New York Times" one will see lots and lots of examples of the New York Times featuring and praising Kendi, who is a prominent contributor to a new book titled, The 1619 Project, edited by the main author of the original New York Times Magazine edition that was "The 1619 Project" itself.

 

So, my white nationalist leader friend, you see that you have a lot of (secret) supporters at the very top of the pile. The future for your recruiting looks great.

end of my Facebook post

[Note that the leaders of the white nationalist organizations, people like David Duke who was a big leader of the KKK and has never denounced that organization's history of racist violence, are typically truly racist, but nowadays they don't recruit rank-and-file new members with overtly racist appeals; they recruit instead on the basis that they are defending whites against unjust discrimination against whites done in the name of anti-racism. Read about this in greater detail in my "What Do 'White Supremacists' Believe?"]

**** See this NYT article of February 16, 2022 (also here) about how an "elite" high school with restricted admissions makes the different races compete for those admissions and squabble bitterly over what is fair or not. What should instead happen is illustrated by, of all things, the U.S. military (Yes, I know, it's used to oppress people, but that is not relevant to the point I'm making here).

 

Like admission to an "elite" high school (and like other things that people desire such as good jobs), entrance into the U.S. military is desired by many people (Yes, that's largely due to the poverty draft, but we can ignore that here).  But unlike "elite" high schools (etc.), the U.S. military is funded so adequately (to put it mildly!) that it accepts all applicants who are reasonably fit. There is no competition along race lines for getting into the U.S. military, nor is there competition along race lines for getting into the military's various training programs, and hence there is no bitter squabbling over how to divvy up scarce admissions by race.

 

There is no good reason why there should not be adequate numbers of "elite" quality schools and good jobs (etc.) so that everybody who wanted to and was qualified to study in an "elite" quality school could do so and everybody who was willing to work reasonably according to ability would be able to find employment and earn what they needed or reasonably desired with scarce things equitably rationed according to need. There's no good reason this--the morally right thing--is not done. But there is indeed a bad reason it's not done: this squabbling between races for artificially scarce things divides-and-rules the have-nots and thereby allows the billionaire ruling plutocracy to maintain its enormous wealth and privilege and power, all of which would vanish with the end of class inequality that would happen if the morally right thing were done.